Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Tobias Krettenauer

Advisor Role




Past research on moral identity development mostly focused on adolescence and early adulthood. As a consequence, little is known about developmental changes in moral identity in the adult years. The purpose of the present study was to broaden the research done on moral identity by investigating the changes in moral identity that individuals experience between adolescence and mid age. To this end, 252 participants were recruited. They ranged in age from 14 to 65 years, and were split into four age-groups: 14-18 years (N=67, 41 females) mean age 16.97; 19 to 25 years (N=52, 29 females) mean age 22.48; 26 to 45 years (N=66, 43 females) mean age 33.27 and, 46 to 65 years (N=67, 35 females) mean age 58.70. Participants were interviewed about their moral identity using a newly developed interview procedure that assesses current self-importance of moral values in three different life areas (family, school/work, and community) as well as perceived change in moral identity across time. Participants’ personality traits were assessed using the NEO-FFI-3. The results indicated first, that there are age-group differences in moral identity. Second, individuals perceive an increase in their own moral identity across time. Third, age group contributes to moral identity when controlling for the personality traits of conscientiousness and agreeableness but not when also controlling for neuroticism, a third personality trait that was found to be correlated with moral identity. The findings offer insight into the changes individuals experience in moral identity across time and how growth in moral identity might trigger change in personality traits.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season